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Discussion Starter #1
Honestly I don't feel under powered with me and the misses... combined weight of us is 300 lbs, so I get thinking well crap, maybe I could pull one of those camper trailer setups I saw at biketoberfest...but then maybe it just tears up the motor for no good reason.

Thoughts y'all?

And Thanks of course:)
 

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Zippy,

I suspect the 9 will have no problem with a trailer and 2 up. Whiting57 has been doing it for years. I have personally seen his bike, bags, and trailer in Texas (he rode from Canada). You have to ensure the load is properly balanced, change driving habits, etc... The 9 is NOT underpowered.

KD
 

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It'll pull a camper trailer. Stopping it might be another story. Yes, technically, any time you apply more force to an engine (run it harder, carry more weight) it wears faster, but I wouldn't be worried about longevity.

Whiting57 and others pull a lightweight trailer called a 'piggybacker' trailer that hauls all kinds of stuff.



The difference between that and a camper trailer is that there is a lot less metal and a lot less weight.

Will it do the camper trailers? Probably. But it's gonna be a bear to get stopped. Don't expect to be able to do 75 on the interstate with it either (you shouldn't anyway. A bike hauling those trailers really should stay below 65, for a lot of reasons including the fact that in speeds above that, those bearings can get real hot! Plus, it's not easy to stop a loaded trailer at 75+...)

Aftermarket EBC pads, a tame throttle hand, etc.? I think you could pull it off. But again, the issue isn't the go power, it's the stop power. If it were me in your shoes, and I was willing to invest 5 grand into a camper trailer and that's what I wanted to do? I'd trade my 900 in for a dual-disc bike like a 1600 or 1700 Nomad, or even an older goldwing. (Could probably just about break even selling your 900 in the $5,000 range and then buying a used 1500/1600 Nomad, or not have much left on a 1700 Nomad)

But then again maybe I wouldn't? I dunno. I'm confident the 900 can do it, I just don't know that it's the best bike for the job. I wouldn't hesitate to pull a piggybacker, but anything bigger I'd have to think about. Though I've experienced first hand that, although soft, when you put a bear grip on those brakes in an emergency that thing WILL stop HARD. It just takes a little more force than most people might expect.

You're right about the 900 not being underpowered. I find that the majority of people who think that haven't ridden one, or if they have, they weren't looking for a decent cruiser, they were looking for a stump puller (V2K) or a speed demon (ZX-14) of which the 900 is neither. But I've had several people ride my BONE STOCK (engine wise anyway) 900, after hopping off of their big 1500, 1600, 1700cc Harley's, Yamahas, etc. And comment on how powerful and smooth it was. That 'little' 900 motor does more than people think. In this day and age, cubic centimeters don't mean much. Engines are built a lot different and you can't really judge them by displacement anymore. And this motor has the horsepower and torque of a much larger engine (not necessarily a V2K but, it matches or beats larger, previous generation Vulcans), but in a bike that weighs less...

EDIT: One thing I would suggest; the V900 only has about 70 watts or so of 'leftover' juice. Whatever trailer you decide on, get the LED light option or swap the lights out with LED's yourself. It'll reduce the load on your bike. It'd really stink to ride a couple hundred miles from home and stop with a near-dead battery because it was slowly draining due to the overloaded electrical system! Also make sure to keep those bearings packed and the tires in good condition. There are a few horror stories out there about guys getting whipped around by their trailer when a wheel locks up, and it's completely preventable.
 

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Bear in mind that a camper trailer such as a Kwik Kamp or a Bunkhouse will weigh 325 pounds empty. I had the Bunkhouse and loaded it was about 500 pounds. Add to that your 300 pounds combined weight (plus your riding gear) and you are asking that bike to lug 800 pounds. That's about 200 more than its own weight. Based on my experience pulling a camper (I had a GL1800 Gold Wing at the time) I'd have to say that you would be courting disaster doing what you suggest. I think it would be dangerous.
 

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300 lbs...not including gear thats 1 up riding for me !!! lol and i gurantee that when me and the missus are on there we break the 500 lb mark....by how much i will not say.. cuz i do plan on gettin some again sometime this decade !!!!
 

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300 lbs...not including gear thats 1 up riding for me !!! lol and i gurantee that when me and the missus are on there we break the 500 lb mark....by how much i will not say.. cuz i do plan on gettin some again sometime this decade !!!!
I'm right there with ya bud. Luckily the wife is light, otherwise my bike might have just given up. But we loaded that thing down with a ton of luggage on our honeymoon. Who says you need a trailer? I carried an aluminum folding tripod, laptop, weeks worth of clothes for two people, chargers, snacks, bottled water, first aid kid, all kinds of crap!



That was before we had the trunk on there as well. My vest is bungied around a sissy bar bag which is strapped to the sissy bar. In the sissybar bag we had water and snacks and emergency equipment for the ride. In the two duffel bags (which are surprisingly huge, AND fold up to a very small size, very nice!) we had all of our clothes and amenities, and in the saddlebags was rain gear, trash bags (in case we would need to wrap up those non-waterproof duffel bags) and as many tools and such as I could fit in the bike. Never opened the saddlebags the whole trip but it's nice to have that stuff on hand!

I strapped those on with two ratchet straps each, along with a heavy duty bungie on the front and back of each, and another bungie running along the back of the bike attached to the back of each duffel bag. Those things couldn't budge. Still rather have the trailer but, man, with a little ingenuity, you can get a lot done!

Oh and uh, one thing I did after the first stop was level the weight of the bags. I gave her a duffel bag to pack and then I packed my own. I betcha can guess which was which. In the future we'll just pack our bags together to even the weight :p
 

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Do a search on whiting57 is bustin bugs .. i have two trips in the rides section... one two up the other solo ... have a read and make your own mind up.
 

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Do a search on whiting57 is bustin bugs .. i have two trips in the rides section... one two up the other solo ... have a read and make your own mind up.
+1 if for no other reason than it's a great read!

Maurice, you've made me confident that these 9's can pull a piggybacker or equivalent, but what about a camper trailer? Those are a bit bigger and heavier, do you think it'll still pull (more importantly, STOP) that?

-John
 

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doesnt those bunkhouse trailers have an electric braking system built into them ?
 

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doesnt those bunkhouse trailers have an electric braking system built into them ?
It's an option, yes. That's what I was wondering too... with an option like that, if configured right, it'd be like not having a trailer at all.

Here, check this out;



Or even better;



A motorcycle towing a car towing a trailer!
 

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doesnt those bunkhouse trailers have an electric braking system built into them ?
Nope, but if you request it, they can do it for you. They won't sell you a trailer brake kit, though, so you have to go to their facility to have it installed. They don't encourage trailer brakes on a motorcycle trailer.

I was trying to type on my IPad last evening, and it's a pain, so I'll try here with my laptop. The 900 weighs in at around 600 pounds. When you add rider, passenger, gear, then a loaded camper trailer, you exceed the weight of the bike, and are asking the bike to pull, stop, etc., something that outweighs itself. Remember that the brakes and suspension are not designed for that kind of duty, nor is the engine or transmission. It will cause premature engine wear and accelerate wear on the tranny. Your operating temperatures will elevate and the oil will degrade quickly. Remember, the Gold Wing is more or less designed for pulling a trailer, and while Honda doesn't endorse pulling a trailer, they know a lot of riders will do so anyway.

What I am trying to say is that while the bike will pull a camper trailer, you are in the situation of the tail wagging the dog, and putting you and your passenger in a dangerous situation, IMO. The 900 is a light duty motorcycle and really up to doing this. Your biggest concerns would be sluggish acceleration, which could be dangerous in a traffic situation, very poor braking ability, and an overtaxed suspension.

In my opinion, if you want to pull a camper trailer, you should get a big touring bike with the engine, transmission, brakes and suspension that are heavy duty enough to safely (more or less) sustain pulling it. I recommend a Gold Wing, although most cruiser riders don't particularly care for that kind of motorcycle. Perhaps a Voyager, HD Ultra, Victory Vision, etc., would be a better choice. Otherwise, stick to a small, light cargo trailer and pack a tent, sleeping bag and so on, or just pack a credit care and camp at the motel. (tongue in cheek here) But I say these things in the interest of your safety and well-being. I pulled a Bunkhouse for several years, so I'm familiar with the ins and outs of motorcycle trailer pulling.
 

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Nope, but if you request it, they can do it for you. They won't sell you a trailer brake kit, though, so you have to go to their facility to have it installed. They don't encourage trailer brakes on a motorcycle trailer.

I was trying to type on my IPad last evening, and it's a pain, so I'll try here with my laptop. The 900 weighs in at around 600 pounds. When you add rider, passenger, gear, then a loaded camper trailer, you exceed the weight of the bike, and are asking the bike to pull, stop, etc., something that outweighs itself. Remember that the brakes and suspension are not designed for that kind of duty, nor is the engine or transmission. It will cause premature engine wear and accelerate wear on the tranny. Your operating temperatures will elevate and the oil will degrade quickly. Remember, the Gold Wing is more or less designed for pulling a trailer, and while Honda doesn't endorse pulling a trailer, they know a lot of riders will do so anyway.

What I am trying to say is that while the bike will pull a camper trailer, you are in the situation of the tail wagging the dog, and putting you and your passenger in a dangerous situation, IMO. The 900 is a light duty motorcycle and really up to doing this. Your biggest concerns would be sluggish acceleration, which could be dangerous in a traffic situation, very poor braking ability, and an overtaxed suspension.

In my opinion, if you want to pull a camper trailer, you should get a big touring bike with the engine, transmission, brakes and suspension that are heavy duty enough to safely (more or less) sustain pulling it. I recommend a Gold Wing, although most cruiser riders don't particularly care for that kind of motorcycle. Perhaps a Voyager, HD Ultra, Victory Vision, etc., would be a better choice. Otherwise, stick to a small, light cargo trailer and pack a tent, sleeping bag and so on, or just pack a credit care and camp at the motel. (tongue in cheek here) But I say these things in the interest of your safety and well-being. I pulled a Bunkhouse for several years, so I'm familiar with the ins and outs of motorcycle trailer pulling.
Why do they discourage the use of trailer brakes?
 

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Nope, but if you request it, they can do it for you. They won't sell you a trailer brake kit, though, so you have to go to their facility to have it installed. They don't encourage trailer brakes on a motorcycle trailer.

I was trying to type on my IPad last evening, and it's a pain, so I'll try here with my laptop. The 900 weighs in at around 600 pounds. When you add rider, passenger, gear, then a loaded camper trailer, you exceed the weight of the bike, and are asking the bike to pull, stop, etc., something that outweighs itself. Remember that the brakes and suspension are not designed for that kind of duty, nor is the engine or transmission. It will cause premature engine wear and accelerate wear on the tranny. Your operating temperatures will elevate and the oil will degrade quickly. Remember, the Gold Wing is more or less designed for pulling a trailer, and while Honda doesn't endorse pulling a trailer, they know a lot of riders will do so anyway.

What I am trying to say is that while the bike will pull a camper trailer, you are in the situation of the tail wagging the dog, and putting you and your passenger in a dangerous situation, IMO. The 900 is a light duty motorcycle and really up to doing this. Your biggest concerns would be sluggish acceleration, which could be dangerous in a traffic situation, very poor braking ability, and an overtaxed suspension.

In my opinion, if you want to pull a camper trailer, you should get a big touring bike with the engine, transmission, brakes and suspension that are heavy duty enough to safely (more or less) sustain pulling it. I recommend a Gold Wing, although most cruiser riders don't particularly care for that kind of motorcycle. Perhaps a Voyager, HD Ultra, Victory Vision, etc., would be a better choice. Otherwise, stick to a small, light cargo trailer and pack a tent, sleeping bag and so on, or just pack a credit care and camp at the motel. (tongue in cheek here) But I say these things in the interest of your safety and well-being. I pulled a Bunkhouse for several years, so I'm familiar with the ins and outs of motorcycle trailer pulling.

just my opinion

I agree with nomad46 100% I will never understand why someone would tow a trailer with their bike, the whole drivetrain sufers you can go down the road on a 500cc bike with a trailer the one thing that scares me the most is that in a emergency the bike is in control not not the rider no matter how high grade brake pads/shoes you have it's going to take longer to stop the bike

most people towing trailers will not tell you all the the bad things or close calls they had, only tell you great things

nothing personal against trailers
 

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just my opinion

I agree with nomad46 100% I will never understand why someone would tow a trailer with their bike, the whole drivetrain sufers you can go down the road on a 500cc bike with a trailer the one thing that scares me the most is that in a emergency the bike is in control not not the rider no matter how high grade brake pads/shoes you have it's going to take longer to stop the bike

most people towing trailers will not tell you all the the bad things or close calls they had, only tell you great things

nothing personal against trailers
I have never pulled a trailer with a bike before but I would image that the same rules would apply with pulling a trailer with a truck. Slow down and take your time. People pull trailers that weight more than their trucks everyday. I do not think anyone here believe they can pull a trailer like they are riding solo and tearing up the twisties. Just like you do not pull your car trailer/farm equipment/ or what ever you hall with you truck and your normal full speed. But like I said I have never pulled one with a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
yea the single disc brakes are a concern for me too and I make conservative people seem reckless so I might use LaQuinta as my campground LOL... I have just thought about how great it would be to travel by bike and get to camp out too. Seems like the 9 will do it but other bikes might be better suited. Same idea I guess when before I owned a truck I used to trailer a boat with a Buick 4 banger... yea it pulled it but it wasn't happy:D
 

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trailering with the 900

I make and sell hitches for the 900 and I have sold a LOT of hitches all over the world so there are many 900 owners that tow. My wife and I (combined 320lbs) easily pull my homemade trailer that uses a car top carrier. I even have a front overdrive sprocket and still have plenty of power to pull. Personally I would not tow the larger camper trailers but there are people that do. My biggest concern would be braking and handling under emergency conditions. I'm also not a big fan of camper trailers because aside from being heavy they are a pain to fold out and set up. If you want to camp it would be much easier to use a smaller trailer and throw a fold up tent inside along with all the other gear.
 

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I make and sell hitches for the 900 and I have sold a LOT of hitches all over the world so there are many 900 owners that tow. My wife and I (combined 320lbs) easily pull my homemade trailer that uses a car top carrier. I even have a front overdrive sprocket and still have plenty of power to pull. Personally I would not tow the larger camper trailers but there are people that do. My biggest concern would be braking and handling under emergency conditions. I'm also not a big fan of camper trailers because aside from being heavy they are a pain to fold out and set up. If you want to camp it would be much easier to use a smaller trailer and throw a fold up tent inside along with all the other gear.
That's what I plan on doing! Harbor Freight sells basically that, a car top carrier trailer, for about $400. Add the expense of a hitch and LED's and I'm good to go, carry the camping gear with me in the trailer!

Those car top carriers with camping gear in them are a far cry from a heavy camper trailer though! They don't weigh much.
 

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as far as maufacturer's reccomendations go it's all for libility reasons.....they stop just short of telling you to never ride the bike and only take it out of the garage for washing/waxing purposes.....my riding solo on my 900 probably exceeds the manufaturer's reccomended weight limit!!!
 

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Why do they discourage the use of trailer brakes?
It's a complicated explanation, but I will attempt. According to the Bunkhouse folks:

If a trailer has brakes, when the brakes are applied, they tend to transfer weight rearward, thus tending to lessen the weight on the front wheel. As you know, your front brake does about 75%--80% of the braking on a motorcycle. If trailer brakes are applies, the rearward transfer of weight due to the braking action of the trailer brakes tends to unweight the front wheel, increasing the possibility of a skid and possible loss of control. This can be especially dangerous in a curve.

A lot of cruiser riders don't even use the front brake for some reason, which is a big mistake. If someone ever says he replaces the rear brake pads more often than the front ones, he is one of those who doesn't use the front brake or doesn't use it properly. Having trailer brakes apply is, in effect, accomplishing a similar thing to not using the front brake.

I realize this is a somewhat round about way of explaining what happens when you have brakes on a motorcycle trailer. Add to this the fact that having the trailer attached further lightens up the front end....well, the list of problems just goes on.

Preferably, one would never tow a trailer with a motorcycle, but many do, and without issues. If you ride a bike like a Gold Wing, you're pretty much OK with any trailer designed for a motorcycle, but for a 900 Vulcan, the most I'd recommend would be a small cargo trailer that won't weigh more than 150 or 200 pounds loaded. To me, it's just not worth the risk with a bike like a 900. If you must, then a bigger bike makes more sense.
 

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Well that makes sense.

Although, on the idea of it taking the weight off the front wheel anyway; if its properly loaded with the proper tongue weight, I think you'll be okay. Whiting also describes setting the bike with the rear brake first to diminish this effect. In the end, emergency braking will be compromised and I'm sure wise trailer pullers take steps to reduce their speed and exaggerate following distances and such. In the end though it is a risk, but then, one could say not riding a sport bike with ABS and dual petal discs (but never exceeding the posted limit and accelerating reasonably) is dangerous, compared to a heavy cruiser.

Like I said I plan on doing the cargo trailer deal. There are risks involved but... There are also risks involved in just riding!

But like anything the difference between a good day and a bad day is often a well oiled machine! There was a fatality near my house this spring when a pickup truck pulling a bass boat blew a tire in the trailer and lost control and went through the median into oncoming traffic. Later they found the blown tire was severely dry rotten, and the tires in the truck and the other trailer tire were all very low. Probably just yanked the boat out of the shed after a winter of sitting. If he had better maintained tires, set his tire pressure, etc. something as simple as that, things could have turned out different. Maybe anyway. I think if your gonna pull a trailer on a bike it should be in tip top shape with properly set suspension and tires! Not just yanked out of the shed and go!
 
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